Litigation Concentration

Professionals across a variety of industries can benefit from expertise in litigation and civil procedure. As part of the online Master of Legal Studies (MLS) and Master of Laws (LL.M.) in U.S. Law programs, the Litigation concentration will help you develop a deeper understanding of the elements of civil procedure — including pre-trial and trial preparation, opening and closing arguments, cross-examinations and other processes involved in legal actions and disputes. This specialized knowledge is critical to improving your understanding of the legal system and providing more effective support for your clients or organization in all stages of litigation.

Whether you are a paralegal supporting a lawyer at a law firm or a criminal investigator at a government agency who is preparing for trial, a strong understanding of the process and elements of a case will improve your ability to work within the legal system and make sound legal recommendations.

If you are interested in learning more about the online programs and the Litigation concentration, request information today.

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Who Should Pursue a Litigation Concentration?

Professionals who could benefit from the Litigation concentration include:

  • Paralegals who need to understand how a lawsuit or dispute moves through court to better support their lawyers
  • Patent agents who support clients by filing for patents and navigating intellectual property issues
  • IP specialists who use trademark law and copyright law expertise to help protect the ideas of their company
  • Criminal investigators who need to analyze legal records and prepare for cases
  • Legal business consultants who provide practical legal recommendations across a variety of topics, including intellectual property and contracts
  • Bilingual patient advocates who need to help their patients navigate the legal complexities of the health-care system
  • Child protective services officers who need to understand the legal rights of their clients in order to effectively provide assistance

Concentration Requirements

To pursue the Litigation concentration, you must be enrolled in the online MLS or LL.M. in U.S. Law program and complete the predefined courses below. These 11 credits count toward the total credits required for each program.

Civil Procedure (Required)

This course is designed to introduce students to the process of U.S. civil litigation, focusing on topics such as procedural posture, the sequence of events in pre-trial and trial practice, and standards of appellate review. The course is intended to provide students with the skills necessary to read and analyze judicial decisions.


Constitutional Law (Required)

This course will examine federalism issues under the Constitution, including judicial review, the commerce clause, separation of powers and intergovernmental immunity. We will address fundamental questions such as the nature of a constitution, the foundations of judicial power, the forms of judicial review, the role of courts in different types of political systems, the institutional design of constitutional courts and the evolution of constitutionalism on a global scale. We will pay particular attention to the development of the 14th Amendment’s liberty and equality guarantees and discuss the appropriate roles of text, structure, history and prudence in constitutional interpretation. In discussing these questions, we will examine how political and social change has influenced the resolution of constitutional disputes and how nonjudicial actors, as well as courts, have constructed constitutional meanings.


This skills course introduces students to effective formats and style for written communication with U.S. lawyers. In written comments and personal conferences as well as in class, professors emphasize prediction of probable court holdings through the analysis and synthesis of judicial decisions and statutes as well as the use of fact argument and analogy.


Professional Responsibility (Required)

The goal of this course is to help prepare students for the ethical dilemmas they will face in legal settings. The course will examine the nature and types of lawyer regulation, client-attorney relationships, confidentiality rules, conflicts of interest, duties to courts, adversaries and third parties, client solicitation and billing, and access to legal services. The course addresses the ABA Model Rules of Professional Conduct, the California Rules of Professional Conduct, and relevant sections of the California Business and Professions Code, and also considers ethical duties arising under common law and other sources of authority.